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Mount Nemrut

 

 
At the junction of the East and West civilizations, Mount Nemrut with a collection of colossal statues 10m high ,the temple and tomb of King Antiochus on a mountain 2150mhighis one of the “must be seen” sites in Turkey. 

Nemrut area  had a very strategic position starting from 250 BC due to its location between the Seleucid and the Parthian Empires. Breaking away from the Seleucid Empire, Mithridates I Callinicus founded the independent Commagene Kingdom in 109 BC and set up his capital in Arsameia. He was from the same ancestry as Alexander the Great and Darius the Great, King of Persia. The Commagene Kingdom was very powerful during his ruling and he was proud of having the Greek and Persian cultures and religion blended into one. He died in 64 BC and was succeeded by his son Antiochus I Epiphanes.
 
Antiochus was both financially and politically successful at the beginning. After a while, he started seeing himself in a god-like status and ordered the building of a temple and funerary mound in his honour. Its size and location was a reflection of his ego and thoughts of his immortality and he declared that when he died his spirit would join the god Zeus in heaven.
 
His power ended in 38 BC after he sided with the Parthians and fell out with the Romans who later deposed him. The Commagene Kingdom was then taken over by the Romans. Huge statues of Antiochus and the gods have been all that remain from his reign,
 
Antiochus and his statues were forgotten for centuries until Karl Puchstein, a German engineer, stumbled across them whilst surveying the site in 1881. Two years later he returned with Karl Humann for a closer inspection, but it was not until 1953 that a team of American archaeologists returned and did a thorough survey. Since then, Mount Nemrut has been a significant attraction with thousands coming at sunrise and sunset to see the stones in the best possible light. It has been designated a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO and is one of the most important National Parks in the country. In addition to the statues, the entire site includes art from the Commagene civilisation, the Eskikale (Old Castle), Yenikale (New Castle), Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge. Most people use the nearby towns of Malatya, Kahta or Adıyaman as a base and the road to the summit is only open from mid-April to mid-October because of heavy snow during the rest of the year.
 
For visitors hiking to the top of Mount Nemrut, the top of the mountain gets very cold at sunrise and sunset even in summer. The higher land is snow covered for nearly half the year. Otherwise, the summer daytime temperature of the plains is extremely hot and dry reaching over 30 degrees, with winters cold and wet and plummeting well below freezing point.
 
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